Jean-Claude Rateau has a large parcel in the 1er Cru Les Bressandes on a steep slope facing east with pebbly clay/limestone soils, conducted in biodynamic farming since 1979. The soil is warm and well-drained giving ripe, structured wines. There is a 21-day maceration with manual cap-punching followed by 18 months in old barrels. Classy Pinot.
Notes on the producer
Having been introduced to biodynamics during a stage with Xavier Morin, an agronomist and early pioneer in the field, Jean-Claude Rateau became the first vigneron in Burgundy and the fourth in the whole of France to adopt these principles when taking over 1.5ha of family vines in 1979. As one can imagine, resources on the subject were scarce at the time so a few producers (including Emmanuel Giboulot and Dominique Derain) pulled together to share their experience and learn from one another. Nowadays, aided by a team of three who are involved at every stage, JC farms about 20 parcels in and around Beaune - where most vineyards are owned by the négoce, a fact that possibly explains why Beaune is not as renowned as the quality of its vineyards indicates that it should be. JC has a high proportion of old vines on each terroir (many of them over 100yo). With regards to viticulture he adapts his fastidious biodynamic methods to the specificity of each climat in each vintage, observing and almost connecting with his vines, he helps them find their natural balance so that they can defend themselves against potential diseases.
In the cellar, he aims to do as little as possible while making sure everything goes as it should. For the reds, the Maceration varies from 15 to 20 days, with pressing by hand or by foot, before an 11 to 20 months élevage on fine lees in 3 to 10yo 228ltr barrels. He carries out a very gentle filtration prior to bottling.